Senior MP for the Liberal Democrats, Stephen Gilbert – who is parliamentary private secretary to Ed Davey- said that smart grids are a much needed boost for consumers to keep energy costs down at the Lib Dem’s party conference in Glasgow.
He spoke at a fringe event run by the Energy Networks Associatio, saying there is the potential to create 9,000 jobs and a £5 billion export industry in addition to reducing carbon and deferring network reinforcement.
In reponse to cost concerns for the rollout, he added “Cost is precisely the reason we need smart grids. Why would you take the dumb investment choice when you can take the smart option that provides long term benefits?”
Gilbert was backed by Hongjian Sun, a lecturer in Smart Grids at Durham University who said “The motivation for a smart grid is clear – if you just build generation to meet the peaks of demand you spend a lot more than if you invest in a smart grid that builds an active link between consumption and generation.”
“A smart grid can help maximise renewables by deploying storage and will make effective use of the data from smart meters, but it will need consumer engagement to succeed.”
Jim Sutherland, engineering director at Scottish Power Energy Networks said that they are already improving the grid performance with the installation of automation technology, “Our plans for the next price control period will continue this trend as well as facilitating the connection of low carbon technology.”
He noted the need to for data security “to ensure only legitimate parties have access to consumption data”.